Back in December 2010 I wrote a blog post entitled "Writing with Style (Sheets, That Is)," on my need, as an editor/copyeditor, for the author to provide a style sheet. This blog post was the result of a series of comments to a status update that Theodora Goss had posted on her Facebook page. In addition to Dora's and my comments, Robert Vardeman and Paul Witcover shared comments as well. And with their kind permissions, I included the FB comment stream in that blog post on style sheets. Dora then wrote a complementary blog post of her own, from her perspective on the subject in question. So with my post and hers, the reader is treated to the editor's and author's viewpoints regarding a single copyedit in a short story.
I won't overly bore you with repetitions from this blog post, should you choose to read it in its entirety, but as I mentioned in that post, in the nearly fifteen years that I have been in this business, I've only had two authors -- Michael A. Stackpole and Mark Teppo -- provide me with style sheets along with their manuscripts. That's two authors in nearly fifteen years. In fact, just this past September I worked on Michael's Of Limited Loyalty, the second volume in his Queen's Command series published by Night Shade Books, and once again he provided the publisher with an updated style sheet for his book.
The second post I want to reference was published on December 10, 2009, shortly after I finished work on Charles Stross's third Laundry Files novel, The Fuller Memorandum, for Ace Books. Entitled "Charles Stross: On Her Majesty's Occult Service," this rather extensive blog post covered my working relationship with Charlie Stross: how it all came together, including the genesis of The Atrocity Archives, the first Laundry Files volume, and the Hugo Award-winning novella "The Concrete Jungle." (Which, by the way, is still available online -- as a PDF doc or as a web page -- for your reading pleasure.)
As he did in 2009, Charlie again recommended me to Ace Books to proof, line edit, and copyedit his forthcoming (fourth) Laundry Files novel, The Apocalypse Codex. I have a distinct advantage over an in-house or other freelance editor because I have worked on the first three books in the series, allowing me to maintain consistency across all the volumes. And Charlie and I work well together: I ask a multitude of questions, and he answers, often with links to reference material; I make content suggestions, and he either accepts, rejects, or modifies said suggestions. Just as it should be, between editor and author. In fact, regarding my work on The Fuller Memorandum, Charlie informed me that upon reviewing the marked up (i.e. change tracked) manuscript from his publisher, he didn't have a single STET on any of my copyedits. No STETs means I done good -- very good. No STETs also takes a lot of stress off both the author and publisher, since there is no back-and-forth dickering necessary over changes: I'll give you those three copyedits for my one STET; this inevitably speeds up the production process, too. (I don't know if I'll be as lucky with the the work I did on the latest volume, which I delivered to Ace Books in December.)
In The Apocalypse Codex, our reluctant hero, Bob Howard, skilled in the techniques of applied computational demonology -- as well as all things IT geekery, plus PowerPoint slide shows and departmental time sheets -- is once again called upon to save the world from a diabolical fanatic who plans to open a portal to call forth a nightmare from the vast reaches of spacetime, at the cost of thousands of lives. Sounds like a typical Laundry Files novel, yes? But there the typical ends. The diabolical fanatic is a reverend; and Bob must team up with a couple of "external assets": Persephone "the Duchess" Hazard (code name: Bashful Incendiary) and Jonathan "Johnny" McTavish (code name: Johnny Prince).